Airbnb converts your currency

When the currency you’re paying with is different from the default currency of the country where the listing is located, Airbnb converts your payment automatically.

How does this work?

Airbnb uses data from one or more third-parties to get the base exchange rate, for example OANDA. The rates are regularly updated but are unlikely to be identical to the real time market.

Unfortunately, if you're paying in a currency that's different from the default currency of the country where the property is situated, Airbnb will charge a conversion fee on top of your total cost.

See the snippet from Airbnb's help page:

They charge 3%

As you can see, their fee is 3%.

we also charge a 3% conversion fee on your total cost

As @DesireeRatcliffe-Lattimore points out in the comments, that's

  • 3% - 5% for the host
  • 6% - 12 % for the guest
  • and now 3% for the currency

Some where between 12% & 20% all plus VAT at 20% = 13.6% to 24%!

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


2 years ago

At some point guests are going to figure this is highway robbery. The savvy one will start coming to us direct...hopefully!!

2 years ago

At this stage many guests would still book with OTAs over direct even knowing they can save money - usually for the cancellation terms. I feel it's important for owners & managers to respond by providing the same terms & guest experience but cheaper (no service fees).

Then guests have no reason not to book direct 😉

2 years ago

Generally speaking OTA cancellation terms on VR are still massively less friendly than hotels (cancellation 24hrs before arrival). It's the frictionless & trust embedded messages plus serious lack of knowledge and "CBA" that makes this work for them.

How many people search for the cheapest product and research it endlessly and then buy online. Odd they don't do it for a VR.

2 years ago

Exactly. Cancellation terms are biggest problem for VRowners, we simply cannot exist with last minute cancellations. We can make our 'pitch' attractive [eg check with us for best price] to capture attention and have good direct interaction. CU at VRWSat enf of week!

Glyn MusicaGlyn Musica
2 years ago

The big online travel agents are charging these types of commission for every single hotel booking that comes through their online reservations system. Therefore I am not surprised by these commissions. But when I tell people how much these OTAs are charging they can't believe it!

For the most part people using Airbnb are different to the guests that stay at a hotel, so despite lobbying by hotels in most countries, the lobbying is misplaced, and in some cases has more to do with not accepting that guests desires have changed in the past few years significantly, as have the devices and use of technology.

As a comment, the trouble is that now the online advertising space is so well commanded by OTAs and the price points so high for paid advertising that for many a single Airbnb property or any other private property looking to expose themselves to people looking for such a property, it's not actually economically viable to buy advertising.

Instead sites such as Airbnb (and now most of the OTAs have their own formula of this business model) are able to leverage their enormous inventory to offset the cost of paid advertising campaigns that deliver them traffic, because they can show people 1,000s of possible options.

What is happening in this lettings market is exactly what happened in the hotel industry 20 years ago. History repeats itself inside a different tourist segment!


2 years ago

Good comment.

History repeats itself inside a different tourist segment

I agree, it's important to draw conclusions from hotel industry - they've started launching huge campaigns to increase direct business. It remains to be seen whether it's working thus far.

It's easier for large hotel chains to launch such campaigns because they themselves have inventory. Only the largest managers maybe able to do something similar - and that's if owners let them!

I predict there will be a decentralised collective, run by owners, to provide a global loyalty program for holiday rentals.

2 years ago

The price of convenience laid bare!

Hat tip to @DesireeRatcliffe-Lattimore for breaking it down.

... so that is ...

  • 3% (5%) for the host
  • 6% - 12 % for the guest another
  • 3% for the currency
  • some where between 12% & 20% all plus VAT at 20% = 13.6% to 24% that is rather a lot?


2 years ago

Not to mention the exchange rate too and banks take.

2 years ago

It's a game of how much money they can siphon throughout the guest journey

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